The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) is targeting a vacant lot in Troutdale's downtown for a new multi-million-dollar headquarters.
The parcel on Southwest Kendall Avenue is directly across the street from the Troutdale Policing Community Center, which already houses 50 sworn and unsworn MCSO officers.
County commissioners agreed to a land deal in December, purchasing the 3.54-acre property for approximately $1.25 million.
County leaders haven't formally approved construction, but a site selection process found the property to be their best bet.
"It has the shortest, by far, travel duration for emergency vehicles to (Interstate) 84," said Steve Cruzen, a development manager hired by the county to shepherd the project. "(The property) had a better ability to secure the site and was less vulnerable to potential natural and manmade disasters."
County documents call for a two-story, 30,000-square-foot headquarters building constructed to last 50 years and survive a severe earthquake.
Preliminary price estimates for the facility are pegged at $23 million. Chief Financial Officer Mark Campbell said the county has already socked away more than $5 million for the project.
"My assumption is that the remainder of that cost comes in the form of long-term borrowing," he said at a Multnomah County board meeting on Thursday, Dec. 8.
The sheriff's office has long fancied a lasting replacement for the agency's ailing Hansen Building at Northeast 122nd Avenue and Glisan Street, which was built as a health clinic in 1956.
A "temporary" two-year relocation in 1976 slowly morphed into a permanent residency for MCSO. The building was vacated last year, with most staff heading to Troutdale and the Portland Police Bureau's southeast precinct building.
MCSO still doesn't have a permanent home.
Mike Pullen, a spokesman for the county, cautioned that the fate of the newly-purchased land is not yet set in stone.
"The property purchase protects future options for the county," he said in a written statement. "The county may proceed with plans to develop the Troutdale site for a sheriff's facility or use it for another purpose."
For now, commissioners and county law enforcement leaders await the proposed takeover of police services in Fairview, which would harmonize with similar consolidations in Wood Village and Troutdale.
Pullen also listed the need to improve other facilities — plus a desire to centralize services — as a reason for "hitting the pause button."
Frank Windust, a well-known landowner in Troutdale, said he had been selling off portions of the land for 25 years.
Before the sale, he had a 50 percent stake in the property.
"I'm glad to get rid of it," he said. "I'm getting too old to worry about this stuff."
Troutdale's former police station, now recast as the Troutdale Policing Community Center, was constructed in 2010 at a cost of $7.5 million.
Construction was financed through a bond measure, and the city of Troutdale retains ownership of the building.
About 70 percent of the building is leased to the county, which pays rent for its use.